Moon I can't tell if this post is funny or not, but I was going for funny. I also can't tell you the difference between a joke and satire, and that may mean I was going for both. But I didn't want to be mean, I just wanted to be funny. But I would like to make this post better at communicating the ideas and gags that are already in there. If you don't mind lets go over the first paragraph.
I wanted to convey three things. First the Eugene character’s lack of success in other fields of his life, thus mentioning the divorce and that he only held this job because of nepotism. I was hoping that these apparent failures would contrast with his arrogance and paint a self diluted and humorous caricature. Second, I wanted to communicate his relative age. By mentioning a divorce in particular it signaled that he was an adult, and his literal adulthood would contrast with his true child-like state that required he ask for his mother’s permission and explain his actions to her. Finally, I wanted to set up some geography of the location. There only two things in the picture, the demon and the church. So I was trying to place the church in a bit on context with regard to location in space and time. When writing something on the Citadel you cannot take for granted that your audience will place the events in a modern setting. A church in the Citadel could be anywhere from Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France in 1412 to the dreamscape of a Martian Cyborg as he travels back in time from the year 3000 to 13th century France. So by mentioning things like driveways, Okalahoma, Lutherans and divorce I placed the scene more or less in modern times.
Those are the things I wanted to communicate. I went back and added the first paragraph after I finished the rest of the anecdote. But I made one of the classic blunders. I assumed that my readers (all three of em) are paying attention. The better assumption is that you have to catch your reader’s attention. I think perhaps I failed to do that with the first paragraph.
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I considered some other intros, that is why I couldn't finish this in 30 minutes. I will post my other intros in the comments section. Tell me what you think of those Moon, and also tell me how you would manage the above points.
Alternate intro one.
Eugene Simons was a 32-year-old man who believed he understood the world far more than his education and professional achievements justified. Despite having no higher education and not having a full time job, Eugene was very pleased with his own intellectual capabilities and often disgusted with the lesser thought processes of most people. Eugene had always had an enthusiasm for ideas but he lacked the self-discipline and stomach for disappointment that was required for true intellectual or artistic careers. This love for ideas but distaste for the reality in which those ideas existed gave Eugene one true life path. Eugene became a Dungeon Master.
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He worked part time as the ground’s keeper at a church to which his family were generous contributors. But of the 20 hours a week they paid him to be there he spent most of it scribbling notes about dungeon maps and wilderness encounters in a spiral notebook. He felt he worked better at the small basement desk they had given him next to the furnace. The rest of his week he spent watching the television or reading comic books. Both tasks he approached with an affectatious seriousness. He considered these endeavors to be important research.
Imagine one could shop for minds the way one shopped for houses. If such a thing was possible a person could not help but be struck dumb when the realtor stopped her car in front of the mind of a 32-year-old custodian named Eugene Simons. Eugene’s mind is enormous. Just in shear scope and square footage it would rival the fabled pad of Mr. Darcy or shame the stage for lazy storytelling that is Dowtown Abbey. The inside is no less spectacular in terms of scope. The rooms of Eugene’s mind are enormous. The size of ideas and concepts that these spaces could hold is absolutely stunning. And layout of this cranial castle is such that all the enormous ideas can run together. Each room opens upon another (Eugene is to old fashion a thinker for anything as efficient as a hallway) and if you were to throw open all the doors you could effectively merge scores of different ideas into one contiguous form.
But those are just the first impressions. Upon second appraisal one would be forced to notice how little furniture and material there is in these room. Yes they can hold huge ideas, but the rooms themselves are almost useless. The space is excellent for party but Eugene has poorly equipped his mental house for the day-to-day tasks of living. Additionally, there is very little light in these spaces. The windows are small and hard to access. The lack of light means that when all these ideas parade through this gigantic house they appear as little more than shadows. Details and depth cannot not be seen when something passes through these dim rooms.
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Finally if one were to look a little deeper you might find something discarded in the corner. That item in the corner is our entire universe, or at least Eugene’s conception of it. Eugene took one look at the universe, and was confident he understood it all from quarks to macroeconomics to marriage to why milk is better with hot wings than beer. Eugene glanced at the universe, felt he mastered it, rolled it up into a small ball and tossed it aside so that he could parade his own poorly illuminated ideas through his great empty mind. Eugene became a dungeon master.
This is hilarious!
I got into gaming at the height of the "D&D is Satanic" furor, so maybe I can appreciate it more. Also, what could be more out of place than arguing with the Devil over Star Trek trivia or multiclassing a friggin Paladin?
"at least a challenge ranking level 20" - lol
Also, at least someone got something out of The Final Frontier :P
The intro was fun, btw. I'm not really sure how I'd use this in a game, but I don't care. It made my day.
Speaking to that retro feel, that may be in part because this centers on a Mind Flayer which is still a pretty esoteric monster. The Mind Flayer's squidy visage is still a flag for the true geek community.
Fantasy and Sci-fi is enjoying a golden age now with vampires, lycans, superheros, zombies, wizards and dragon mamas enjoying mainstream success. In 1974 I would wager that the majority of americans did not have a mental image of an Orc. Today you would have to be living on a Roc to not have a least a conception of an orc (yeah they might get it confused with a goblin or troll) but the Mind Flayer is still ours. But as the Dawn Breaks open the markets for speculative fiction a Twilight descends on what was once a Secret Circle of knowledge and learning. Under that Dome we knew what Tenser's floating disk was and we knew it had nothing to do with Disk World. Now though the main stream media is Staking a claim to the undead and the mystical, and twisting them away from the ideals held by the unwashed masses that could correctly pronounce acronyms like T.H.A.C.O. or G.U.R.P.S.. Some things are still pure though; the beholder, the rust monster, the displacer beast and of course the Mind Flayer.
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And until somebody writes a best selling book or movie about a sexy noble Mind Flayer who flatters a small town girl to ruin than we can keep some pure memories of rolling 20 sided dice in our garages. Perhaps that is why Mind Flayers are retro. Mind Flayers are still clean.